Nearly 25 years after Batman Returns release, we're finally getting a Michelle Pfieffer Catwoman action figure that actually does the character justice. There have been other figures based on this interpretation of the character --- particularly those released in conjunction with the film's original release --- but we've come a long way from 1992's action figure standards. Despite Catwoman having a number of action figures over the years from various makers however, the Batman Returns version has been neglected for decades.
NECA's been on a personal crusade to bring fan-favorite versions of characters from the Tim Burton Batman films to life, and with Catwoman due to arrive this fall, the dream will soon be a reality. NECA's Burton Bat-verse line has been a tremendous hit thus far, and it's not hard to understand why. I mean, just look at this thing. It's wonderfully accurate, in both costume and likeness, and despite being a 1/4 scale figure, still has enough articulation for more than adequate poseability.
Where were you on World Turtle Day 2016? That is not a sentence I expected to type out in my lifetime, but I'll remember where I was for one reason. Well okay, I'll remember where I was because I'm in the same place I am every Monday --- plastered in front of my computer writing about games and toys --- but in this case, I'll remember specifically because it was the day NECA announced a new set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles based on the 1989 arcade classic.
Many die-hard TMNT fans might remember NECA once had a go at the Turtles just about eight years ago. The figures were based on the Mirage Comics incarnations, and while a whole line of figures was planned, only the Turtles and the Mousers ever saw the light of day. There were even black and white variants made to mimic the appearance of the original comic art, which in turn inspired a number of imitators, but that was the last anyone saw of NECA's Turtles. Now, ahead of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, NECA's at it again, bringing those tubular heroes to life in one of the company's signature lines, the Classic Video Game Apperance series.
In 1992, Kenner released a series of action figures based on the sci-fi film franchise Alien. This was just ahead of the release of Alien 3, but Kenner's plans focused primarily on the action-packed 1986 sequel, Aliens. With its army of Xenomorphs battling against the force of the Colonial Marines, it was a much better match for a toy line than the upcoming third film, even though kids couldn't technically watch any of the movies in the series. Now, some 30 years after the release of Aliens and 20 odd years after the toy line collapsed, NECA is back with a reminder of what once was and shall never be again.
Every year, NECA rolls out one of the most consistently great Toy Fair line-ups of any company at the show. The variety of licenses, scales, and styles is virtually unrivaled, and the NECA booth is often one of the highlights of the annual event. This year was no exception, and NECA lifted the curtain on a number of incredible reveals, including some that were previously though impossible. But that's just NECA's style, and the company is always full of surprises.
Case in point, the all-new 1/4 scale Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line based on the 1990 film. In the past, NECA had released some Mirage-era Turtles, but the full series never saw the light of day due to licensing complications. For years, fans had been hoping to see more of those designs, but it's just not going to happen. Instead, we'll just have to "settle" for a whole new collection based on the greatest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie of all time. Yeah, I said it. The first figure in the series, Donatello, is note perfect, and captures every last dimple, piece of shell and muscle in astounding detail.
It's taken years, but the impossible has finally happened. NECA will be bringing Contra to life in action figure form for the first time in well... ever. The beloved NES sidescroller has been a fan-favorite for decades, and though it's spawned sequels across a variety of platforms, Konami never licensed the franchise out for poseable collectibles before. Now, after seeing the success NECA's had with its video game figure wave, the developer has given the blessing for the first non-movie related entry into the popular action figure line.
If you're not familiar with Contra's lead characters Bill and Lance, the duo take on aliens in an effort to protect the planet. Their likenesses are thinly veiled homages to John Rambo and Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, with the Arnold Schwarzenegger poster for Predator being pretty closely ripped off to create Bill. Lance's Rambo roots aren't nearly as transparent, save for the dark hair and red headband. Those two '80s action icons being the inspiration makes the transition for NECA even easier given the company's history with those two characters.
There once was a time when I would have thought it completely unbelievable to have Batman watching over my home. First of all, the dude is a fictional character. Secondly, I don't live in Gotham, which is a fictional place. Sure, there are a myriad of collectibles currently available that allow me to put miniature Batmans all over the place, and between you and me, those little guys are in a lot of places in my house. None of those scaled-down figures strike the fear of the night into criminals however. It's a trade-off in being able to afford them and fit them in convenient places like bookshelves.
Now, NECA's announced a life-size Batman based on the Batman: Arkham Knight incarnation, and what it lacks in function it more than makes up for in straight-up awesome.
If you know anything at all about DC Comics' and Warner Brothers' licenses, you know that with the rare exception of DC Collectibles, it's almost impossible to find any action figures of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or the rest of the laundry list of characters without it coming from Mattel. There are some allowances however with large-scale figures, such as those Hot Toys, Sideshow and even NECA have produced in the past. If you're looking for 1/12 scale though (6-7"), your pickings are slim.
There are some instances, by the grace of the toy gods, where a company like NECA can put out its much-requested 1/4 scale figures at a more affordable and space-permitting scale. Previously, NECA teamed with Warner Bros. and Toys 'R Us to offer its Michael Keaton Batman (1989) figure at standard figure size as part of a bundle with the anniversary release of the film on Blu-ray. At the time, many fans begged for that same treatment to be given to the likes of NECA's 1/4 scale Christopher Reeve Superman and Heath Ledger Joker. It seemed like an opportunity like that would never happen again. Until it did. Today.
It's been some years since Kenner held the rights to either Alien or Predator, but current rights-holder NECA has been steadily paying homage to the Kenner Predator era with a few different releases. Soon, it will be venturing into Kenner's Alien line as well, but to kick things off, NECA is releasing a two-pack through Toys 'R Us commemorating the original Kenner set.
The '90s were an era of amazing comic book crossovers. This was especially true at Dark Horse, where the licenses for Terminator, Predator, Aliens and even Robocop all resided at one time or another, giving the company the ability to mix and match these action film brands for some truly epic encounters. In fact, one such crossover was the impetus for a series of mini-series starring Detroit's number one lawbringer. Written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson, Robocop vs. The Terminator played out like a fever dream from fans of the franchises, pitting the man formerly known as Alex Murphy against the entirety of Skynet in the future. The series was such a hit, it even spawned a set of video games for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.
Last summer, NECA continued its fan-favorite retro video game figure series with a collection based on the classic Robocop vs. The Terminator. The line provided a few different Robocops and a few different T-800 Endoskeletons and battle-damaged Terminators, all of which got paint schemes based on their 16-bit interpretations. However, outside of the proposed Terminator dogs (unreleased to this point), it seemed like NECA was finished with the license. Until this week.
In 1987, 20th Century Fox introduced the world to the Predator in one of the most memorable action films of Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. I wouldn't see the movie until a few years after it's release on cable at a sleepover, but the impression it made was instant. In 1989, Dark Horse brought the alien hunters to the masses through the first of many mini-series, Concrete Jungle. The four-issue series actually focused on the brother of Schwarzenegger's Dutch Schaffer, a New York police detective working the narcotics division. Even all these years later, the cover to the first issue is still a bold and memorable one, which was a hallmark of DHP's Predator books way back when. Since those earliest Predator stories, the franchise has stuck with fans, and the tribal aliens have appeared in a variety of forms over the years.
These comics, which arrived on the scene before Danny Glover and Predator 2, were the first time we learned there could be more than one of these ugly mother f---ers out there. Dark Horse's books continued expanding on the universe of the Yautja over the years, building a deep history for the alien race, and even helping inspire a bit of cross-pollination with the Alien franchise (also at 20th Century Fox and Dark Horse). Still, Concrete Jungle, which acted as a direct sequel of sorts to the original film remains one of the most important. Now, in celebration of the 25th anniversary Dark Horse's first Predator comics, NECA's released a special version of the iconic hunter commemorating that stunning cover.
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